Saturday, March 18, 2017

Interim Suspension For Murder Conviction

A notice of recent discipline from the web page of the Texas State Bar

On January 12, 2017, the Board of Disciplinary Appeals signed an agreed interlocutory order of suspension against Greenville attorney Royal Mullins [#14657750], 64. On May 4, 2016, Mullins was found guilty of murder, an intentional crime as defined in the Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure, in the case styled, The State of Texas v. Royal Lynn Mullins, Cause No. 30544 in the 196th Judicial District Court of Hunt County. Mullins was sentenced to 60 years in prison and ordered to pay a fine in the amount of $10,000 and court costs of $266.25. Mullins has appealed his criminal conviction. The board retains jurisdiction to enter a final judgment when the criminal appeal is final. BODA Cause No. 58339.

The Herald Banner reported on the crime in May 2016

A local attorney and former sheriff’s investigator and prosecutor was found guilty Tuesday of murder in connection with a 2014 shooting death in Greenville.

A jury in the 196th District Court deliberated for about an hour before returning with the guilty verdict against Royal Lynn Mullins, involving the death of Curtis “Topper” Gray. A sentencing hearing was recessed until Wednesday morning to allow the panel to continue deliberations on the punishment Mullins, 63, will receive.

 Mullins was returned to the custody of the Hunt County Detention Center following his conviction.

Tuesday began with both the prosecution and defense attorneys resting their cases. Closing arguments began at noon, with Visiting Judge Jane Roden presenting the jury with the charge that included language covering the conditions under which murder could be considered justified, such as in the self-defense of oneself or others.

Testimony during the trial revealed Mullins was called to a residence in the 3800 block of Spencer Street in Greenville early on the morning of July 30, 2014, where two women inside the home had indicated Gray had become belligerent refused to leave. After entering the home, Mullins shot Gray as many as 11 times with a 9mm pistol, including once in the top of the head.

Defense attorney Frank Long told the jury Mullins was acting to protect the two women and himself in firing the shots.

“Every murder is a tragedy, but in this case Royal Mullins had reason,” Long said. “You would have hoped someone had done it for you.”

Long said Mullins was justified in the shooting under the “castle doctrine” of the law.

“He acted responsibly, he acted correctly and he acted within the law,” Long said.

Rockwall County First Assistant District Attorney Damita Sangermano argued that Mullins was not acting to protect the two women, who were already out of the house before the shooting began.

Sangermano also rejected Mullins’ claims to investigators that Gray kept advancing toward him after being shot, noting seven of the 11 wounds reflected the shots were fired from above Gray.

“At some point, Curtis Gray Sr. ceased to be a threat,” she said.

Sangermano again referred to Mullins’ interview in which he said Gray was crawling toward him and then “jerking” before he stopped shooting.

“He’s just shot him in the spine,” Sangermano said. “He’s jerking and that’s when he shot him in the head.”

Sangermano said the previous night, Mullins had sought out Gray, carrying two loaded handguns, and according to a text message was planning to “deliver a 9mm protective order” to the victim.


“This man chose that night to be the judge, jury and executioner,” Sangermano said.

The jury received the case at 1:25 p.m. and returned from deliberations at around 2:30 p.m. Tuesday.

During the start of the punishment phase of the trial, Gray’s sister Deborah Gray said the shooting had impacted the entire family.

“Mentally, emotionally, it has been overwhelming,” she said. “He did not deserve to be murdered like he was.”

Long called Hunt County Court at Law No. 2 Judge F. Duncan Thomas, who said he had known Mullins for approximately 40 years, from when Thomas was an assistant county attorney and Mullins was a deputy and then an investigator for the Hunt County Sheriff’s Office.

When he was elected as Hunt County District Attorney, Thomas hired Mullins, who had just graduated law school, as an assistant district attorney.

Thomas said he had never known Mullins to be a violent person and always believed he tried to help people.

The jury received the case to begin considering the sentence in the case, which could range from five to 99 years to life in prison. If the sentence is less than 10 years, Mullins has requested probation as he has never before been convicted of a felony.

(Mike Frisch)

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